US 7859786 B2
Apparatuses and methods for adjusting the track pitches of the tracks on a data storage tape. In one variation, the method comprises adjusting the observed pitch between the tracks by applying variable amounts of pressure on the surface of the tape. In another variation, the pressure is applied to a localized region on the tape. The pressure can be modulated to induces a change in the physical characteristic of the tape in and around the area where pressure is applied. In another aspect, an apparatus is configured with a magnetic read-head for detecting written tracks on a magnetic tape, and an actuator is provided to apply pressure on the tape to control the track pitch of the written tracks.
1. An apparatus comprising:
a cluster of magnetic transducers, wherein the magnetic transducers are operable to read data on a magnetic tape; and
an actuator, wherein the actuator is operable to apply a pressure in a direction perpendicular to a surface of the tape to a localized area on the magnetic tape that is adjacent to a contact area between the actuator and the magnetic tape to adjust distances between a plurality of tracks within the localized area on the magnetic tape.
2. The apparatus according to
a controller, wherein the controller is operable to detect a first set of track pitches of the tracks on the magnetic tape, and further operable to vary the pressure on the magnetic tape based on the first set of track pitches such that a second set of track pitches is achieved on the tracks.
3. The apparatus according to
4. The apparatus according to
a motor adapted to pass the tape under the magnetic transducers.
5. The apparatus according to
6. The apparatus according to
7. The apparatus according to
8. An apparatus, comprising:
a cluster of magnetic transducers operable to read data on the a magnetic tape;
a controller operable to continuously monitor track pitch or track position information from the magnetic transducers and control pressure applied to the magnetic tape for adjusting track pitch of the magnetic tape based on the track pitch or track position information; and
an actuator operable to adjust the lateral width of the magnetic tape by applying a variable pressure gradient to a localize region of the magnetic tape that is adjacent to a contact area between the actuator and the magnetic tape, wherein the variable pressure is controlled by the controller.
This application is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/255,519, filed on Oct. 20, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The invention is related generally to the field of data storage systems. More particularly, the present invention is related to methods and apparatuses for controlling track pitch while writing and/or reading from a data storage tape.
Magnetic tape servo tracking systems' accuracies continue to improve over time, where currently, the traditional servo error, PES (Position Error Signal), is no longer the most significant tracking error. Many tape servo and tracking technologies are able to demonstrate performance capability in the sub one micron for PES errors.
In examining the contribution of position errors to the total off-track budget, it is evident that core pitch and track pitch mismatch fast becoming the dominant limitation. Unfortunately, the pitch related errors are embedded into the multi-channel flexible tape's geometrical limitations, and it is well understood that traditional servo control have difficulties in correcting pitch related errors as caused by the read-head or media. For example, typical off-track component caused by pitch error is in the range of 1-2 microns, and pitch error is by far the largest component of off-track error in the next generation tape drives. While this error may be insignificant in a tape drive within an error budget in the range of 8-10 microns, the same error would be unacceptable for next generation products with much higher track density.
It is also important to note that advances in tape guide and improvements in servo technology as applied to current tape systems are fast approaching the point of diminishing return. For example, in a guiding and servo system that could reduce the position error by half, the benefit to the system is a little more than a fraction of a micron (e.g., 0.1-0.2), as only one core could benefit. However, the “mismatch” between the tape tracks and head cores is at least one order of magnitude higher. Therefore, in the next generation systems the track pitch error is a major limiting factor towards increasing track densities.
In a system with dedicated servo technologies that use “surrogate servo sensors”, such as optical or magnetic heads, the accuracy is further limited by the system's inability to observe this mismatch as seen by the various data transducers or head cores. Therefore, only the static portion of the error could be corrected. The system would not be able to accommodate the dynamic changes in track pitches along the length of the tape.
In addition, it is well known in the tape industry that mismatch between the read-head (e.g., head cores, etc.) and the multiple data tracks written on a given tape can be a significant contributing cause of off-track error. Typically mismatch can be caused by two factors. First, when data is interchanged between two drives, the respective heads introduce core pitch mismatch between the two written data sets. With the advances of thin film head technology, mismatch has been reduced in comparison with traditional ferrite heads designs. However, at ultra high track densities, such as 10K TPI (Tracks Per Inch) and beyond, this mismatch becomes very significant. The second mismatch error contributor, which can occur even at lower TPI, is the differences in the expansion characteristic between the head and tape media due to environmental changes. The media can expand significantly due to thermal and/or hydroscopic variations.
Therefore, there is a need for methods and apparatuses that permit a magnetic tape drive to compensate for the dynamic changes in track pitches on the magnetic data storage tapes. In particular, the ability to adaptively modify track pitches of the magnetic tape to match the transducers on a magnetic read-head can enhance the performance of tape drives that utilize magnetic tapes with high track density.
Disclosed herein are apparatuses and methods for adjusting the track pitches of the tracks on a tape media. In one example, the method comprises adjusting the observed pitch between the tracks by applying variable pressure gradient on the surface of the magnetic tape. In one variation, the pressure is applied to a localized area on the magnetic tape. The pressure is modulated to induce a change in the physical characteristic of the tape in and around the area where the pressure is applied. For example, as a pressure is applied onto the tape by an actuator stretching a local surface region, the distance across the width of the tape expands and “pushes apart” the written tracks in this region. As the pressure being applied by the actuator is decreased, the local surface region on the tape relaxes and “pulls together” the written tracks in this region.
This method can be implemented with active control and/or adaptive response, such that track pitches for the tracks to be read by the magnetic read-head can be expanded or contracted in order to match the tracks to their corresponding magnetic transducers (e.g., magneto-resistive sensors, etc.) on the read-head. “Match” as used herein means adjusting the tracks so that the positions of the tracks correspond to the positions of the magnetic transducers, such that data on each of the tracks can be read by a corresponding magnetic transducer on the read-head.
By continuously monitoring the track pitch on the tape being read, the magnetic tape drive can be adaptively (e.g., through feed-back control) stretched or relaxed in the tape media (within an acceptable operating limits) in a localized region being read by the magnetic read-head to improve the alignment between the tracks on the magnetic tape with transducers on the magnetic read-head. In one variation, an algorithm (e.g., interpolation, fuzzy logic, neural network, etc.) can be implemented to calculate a best fit between the tracks on the magnetic tape with their corresponding magnetic transducers on the read-head.
In another variation, a controller is implemented to monitor the changes in track pitches along the length of the tape as the data on the tape is being read. As the track pitches on the tape changes, an actuator is utilized to expand or contract the tape in a localized region, and as a consequence, inducing the tracks in this localized region to either move away or move towards each other in such a way as to maintain correspondence between the tape tracks and the magnetic transducers on the read-head. For example, the controller can be configured to continuously monitor the track pitches and adjust the track pitches such that an approximate fit between the tracks and their corresponding magnetic transducers on the read-head is maintained as the data is downloaded from the tape.
In one application, the track pitch control function can be applied to correct expansion errors as measured by a pre-written servo tracks or FAF/CAF (Fast Access Format/Course Alignment Field) type calibrations. In another variation, the track pitch control function can be applied in a system without pre-written servo tracking technologies, such as an auto tape servo. The auto-servo system, such as one disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/084,412 entitled AUTO-SERVO TAPE SYSTEM AND ASSOCIATED RECORDING HEAD, is capable of measuring the as written pitch error from the actual data tracks and can have more actual information than the surrogate type servo tracking as measured by constant pitch dedicated servo tracks, which are preset during the factory servo writing process. In yet another variation, embedded servo technology, such as the write and/or read servo, is combined with the track pitch control function, to allow the tape drive to detect and correct off-track error, as well as the mismatch between the track-pitches on the tape and the spacing separating the magnetic transducers on the magnetic read-head (e.g., head core pitch).
These and other embodiments, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art when taken with reference to the following more detailed description of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying drawings that are first briefly described.
The following detailed description should be read with reference to the drawings, in which identical reference numbers refer to like elements throughout the different figures. The drawings, which are not necessarily to scale, depict selective embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. The detailed description illustrates by way of example, not by way of limitation, the principles of the invention. This description will clearly enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and describes several embodiments, adaptations, variations, alternatives and uses of the invention, including what is presently believed to be the best mode of carrying out the invention.
Magnetic tape drive is used herein as an example application of the track pitch control function, in order to illustrate the various aspects of the invention disclosed herein. In light of the disclosure herein, one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate that the methods and apparatuses disclosed herein can be implemented in various other data storage tapes, including optical tapes, to adjust track pitch of the written tracks on the tape media to improve the performance of the tape drive.
It must also be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, the term “a read-head” is intended to mean a single read-head or a combination of read-heads, “an electrical signal” is intended to mean one or more electrical signals, or a modulation thereof. Furthermore, “longitudinal dimension” as used herein means the dimension on the tap along the length of the tape, and “lateral dimension” as used herein means the dimension along the width of the tape. In addition, “track pitch” as used herein means the distance between two adjacent tracks on a tape surface. It corresponds to the tracks per inch (TPI) or the density of tracks on a data storage tape. Moreover, magnetic read-read-head means a magnetic head comprises a plurality of magnetic transducers for sensing magnetic variations on a magnetic tape. A magnetic read-head may be configured with both read and write capability. In one variation, the magnetic read-head comprises a magneto-resistive cluster head assembly having a plurality of magneto-resistive transducers capable of simultaneously reading data from sixteen separate tracks on a magnetic tape.
In one variation, the apparatus is operable to dynamically modify the region of the tape that interfaces with the read-head (e.g., head core) in an adaptive manner. For example, the track-pitch on the tape can be adjusted according to a signal representing the track pitch error (e.g., core pitch error) between the magnetic transducers on the read-head and the written track pitch on the tape. Typical thin tape media that are utilized for data recording are flexible and can expand and contract within its elastic limits. Thus, an actuator (e.g., roller, drum, displacement mechanism, pressure/force application mechanism, etc.) can be utilized to deliver a localized pressure directly onto the surface of the tap to induce expansion of the tape in a limited area on the tape. The pitch control function utilizes an actuator to induce reversible physical changes to the tape by applying a pressure/force in a vertical direction, such that the tracks on the tape are “pushed away from each other” or “pulled together towards each other” to match the magnetic transducers' distribution pattern on the read-head (e.g., the head core pitch). This technique may be particularly useful in tape drive utilizing thin tapes with high track density. The pitch control function may allow the system to make micro-adjustments with the track-pitch in a controlled manner.
One approach to account for these track-pitch variations is to utilize the pitch control function to modify the position of the tracks on the tape to fit the transducer pattern on the read-head. In one example, as shown in
An actuator 26 is positioned next to the magnetic read-head 4. The actuator is capable of applying pressure on a top surface 28 of the magnetic tape 8. In this particular variation, the actuator is configured to apply pressure across the width 30 of the tape. An electronic controller 32 is connected to both the actuator and the magnetic read-head 4. The controller receives information regarding track pitch (e.g., track pitch error signal, etc.) and/or track position information from the magnetic read-head, then controls the actuator 26 to apply a pressure onto the magnetic tape 8 to change the track pitch. The controller receives a feedback from the magnetic read-head 4 regarding the changes in track pitch due to the pressure, and adjusts the amount of pressure being applied by the actuator 26. This feedback loop continues until the track pitch is adjusted to match the magnetic transducers distribution pattern on the magnetic read-head 4, such that data/information in the data and/or servo track on the magnetic tape can be read by the magnetic transducers.
In one variation, the magnetic read-head includes eight magnetic transducers for simultaneously reading data from eight different tracks on the tape. The tape drive apparatus first utilizes a servo track to align the eight tracks on the tape with the magnetic read-head. Technology for utilizing a servo track to align tracks on the magnetic tape with the read-head is well known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Optical alignment technology, which is also well known to one of ordinary skill in the art, can also be implemented to provide general alignment (e.g., control lateral movement of the tape to center the tape) of the magnetic tape with the read-head.
Once a rough alignment is achieved, then the controller 32 utilizes the actuator 26 to adjust the track pitches on the tape 8, such that the track pitches approximate the spacing between the transducers on the read-head 4. In one application, the controller 32 continuously monitor track pitch and/or track position information receive from the magnetic read-head, and continuously adjust the track pitch of the tape, by modulating compression applied by the actuator, to account for variations in track pitch along the length of the tape. Thus, ensuring the tracks continue to correspond to the transducers on the magnetic read-head. In one variation, alignment utilizing the servo track, and alignment utilizing the actuator, are performed in parallel. In another variation, the feedback controller utilizes a computer algorithm (e.g., fuzzy logic, neural network, digital filter, numerical modeling, adaptive learning, etc.) to determine a track pitch that best fit the transducer pattern on the magnetic read-head.
Localization of tension variations induced by the actuator may minimize tear and wear to the tape in comparison to a system that stretches the complete tape. In particular, damages to the edges of the tape may be avoided since the actuator does not come into direct contact with the edges of the tape. Furthermore, applying an actuator to a localized area may allow the system to deliver fine tension adjustments on the tape, and thus allowing the system to fine tune the track pitches by making very small tension adjustments. In addition, since the pressure is delivered locally, a small amount of pressure may be enough to induce substantial change in the track pitch in the immediate area surrounding the pressure application location. In comparison, a system that applies pressure or tension to the length of the tape may require a substantially larger amount of pressure to induce the same amount of track changes in comparison to system configured to modulate tension of the tape locally. Therefore, the system that stretches the complete tape may decrease the operating life expectancy of the tape media. Moreover, new generation of tape media with ultra thin configuration may be susceptible to damage or even complete failure when exposed to high levels of tension.
The actuator may be placed in front or behind the magnetic read-head. In one variation, the actuator 26 is placed in front of the magnetic read-head 4 in relation to the direction of the tape advancement, as shown in
Furthermore, one of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure would appreciate that the actuator may be configured with various interfaces to engage the tape surface. In one variation, a roller 62 is implemented on the actuator 26 to apply pressure on the tape 8, as shown in
Another aspect of the invention comprises methods for transducing data from a magnetic tape while controlling track pitch to match the transducer pattern on the magnetic read-head. In one variation, the method comprises utilizing a magnetic read-head including a plurality of transducers to simultaneously read data from a plurality of tracks on a magnetic tape, while adjusting the track pitches of tracks to improve alignment between the tracks on the magnetic tape with the transducers on the magnetic read-head. The track pitch can be adjusted by expanding or contracting the width of the tape to match each of the tracks to a corresponding transducer on the magnetic read-head. In one variation, the tracks are adjusted by varying the tape tension in a localized area of the tape. The localized area may be limited to an area on the surface of the tape where the lateral dimension is less than the width of the tape.
For example, an actuator can be used to apply pressure/force can be applied onto a localized area on the tape. By decreasing or increasing the pressure applied on the surface of the tape, the track pitch in the region immediately surrounding the localized area can be modified. In one variation, the pressure/force is applied on an area having a width (i.e., lateral dimension) that is less than 50% the width of the tape. In another variation, pressure imposed on the surface of the tape is applied on an area with a width that is less than 25% the width of the tape. In yet another variation, the pressure is imposed on the tape to cause changes in the track pitch in an area having a width of 0.5 inches or less. The actuator can be implemented to vary the track pitches of a plurality of tracks in order to determine a match between the tracks and the transducers in the read-head. For example, the actuator can continue to increase the pressure on the tape to minimize track error until an over correction is detected. The controller then releases part of the pressure imposed on the tape and bring the track pitch back to a best match point. By limiting the pressure to a localized area, the apparatus can expand (e.g., stretch) one area on the tape, while keeping the tension in the rest of the area surrounding the expanded area at a constant level. In one variation, the tape drive comprises moveable read-head and the read-head is displaced to apply pressure directly on the tape.
In one variation, the control circuit continues to receive track information from the read-head and continuously adjust track pitches of the plurality of track to match corresponding magnetic transducers on the magnetic read-head 90. This configuration allows the tape drive to compensate for the variation in track pitch along the length of the tape. In another variation, once the track pitch on the tape is adjusted to correspond to the transducers on the read-head of the tape drive, the controller continues to monitor the track pitch and make necessary adjustments to keep the track pitch on the tape constant. With the track pitch adjusted to match the transducers on the read-head, the read-head can then read the information stored in data tracks on the tape 92. Examples of method and apparatus for tracking lateral tape position and detecting the position of the tracks on the tape are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/084,412 entitled AUTO-SERVO TAPE SYSTEM AND ASSOCIATED RECORDING HEAD, by George A. SALIBA, file on Mar. 18, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
As one of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure would appreciate, the method disclosed herein can be implemented to stretch the tape in a localized region independent of the changes in the overall width of the tape. However, in one variation, mechanisms that are well known to one of ordinary skill in the art can be utilized to maintain a constant tape width, while an actuator is simultaneously utilized to adjust the stretching of the tape in a localized region on the surface of the tape to control the track pitch of the written track in this localized region.
In another example, the read-head 4 itself is displaced into the surface 28 of the tape 8 directly, as shown in
As one of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure would appreciate, two or more actuators may be implemented to provide localized pressure on the surface of the tape.
In another example, varying amounts of pressure are delivered onto a localized area on the surface of the tape to induce variation amounts of changes in track pitch in the effected area. This design allows the user to expand the track pitch between a selective track in a give channel more than the other tracks in the same channel. For example, as shown in
As illustrated in
In one variation, the roller comprises a rollable drum 170,
In another design, a tape drive is configured to utilize pre-written servo track as reference to adjust the lateral position of the tape and/or the overall tension of the tape, while at the same time implements track pitch control function to modulate track pitch in a localized region on the tape. For example, the pre-written servo track may be written in a controlled environment with controlled tension. The tape drive can then adjust the tape's lateral position and/or overall tension during initial write as well as subsequent reads, minimizing the required tension spread for compensation. An actuator is utilized simultaneously to fine tune the track pitch to ensure that the data tracks on the tape matches the corresponding magnetic transducers on the read-head.
In another variation, a read-head with a contour for facilitating and/or inducing read-head to tape contact, when the tape is passed under the read-head at high speed, is implemented on the tape drive along with the pitch control function. For example, a read-head having a plurality of active data islands and a desirable wrap angle, as shown in
Further, an arrow shown on tape 230 indicates the reversible direction of tape 230 movements relative to magnetic read-head 220, and an arrow shown on read-head 220 indicates the relative movement of the read-head 220 to the path of tape 230 in a direction generally orthogonal (i.e., lateral movement) to the direction of tape 230 advancement. The movement of magnetic tape read-head 220 allows head 220 to align read and/or write transducers in the active regions to read and/or write information along one or more different data tracks arranged longitudinally along tape 230; for example, a suitable servo system may send position signals to a controller which in turn controls an actuator for translating read-head 220 in a lateral movement relative to tape 230. A second actuator (not shown), can be positioned next to the read-head 220 for applying a pressure onto a localized region of the tape 230 (in a direction perpendicular to the tape surface) to induce changes in the track pitches in an active regions to be read and/or write by the transducers in the read-head.
In another variation, a negative pressure flat head contour design is implemented in the apparatus. In yet another variation, the read-head contour is selected such that it can handle significant tension change in the tape while maintaining contact with the tape surface to read the data from the tape. As one of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure would appreciate, specific head contours may be implemented to permit the read-head to operate over the rage of resultant local tape surface tension changes.
Variations of the apparatus may be configured to correct various off-track pitch errors between the tape and the read-head, such as, errors resulting from interchanging between heads (e.g., mismatch between write-head and read-head), servo writer head core pitch error, and/or initial tape width variance (when the tape servo tracks were written), by temporarily changing track pitch on the written tracks to match the read-head. Moreover, variations of the apparatus may minimize tape edge damage and/or decrease problems associated with spooling at variable tension.
This invention has been described and specific examples of the invention have been portrayed. While the invention has been described in terms of particular variations and illustrative figures, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the invention is not limited to the variations or figures described. In addition, where methods and steps described above indicate certain events occurring in certain order, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the ordering of certain steps may be modified and that such modifications are in accordance with the variations of the invention. Additionally, certain of the steps may be performed concurrently in a parallel process when possible, as well as performed sequentially as described above. Therefore, to the extent there are variations of the invention, which are within the spirit of the disclosure or equivalent to the inventions found in the claims, it is the intent that this patent will cover those variations as well. Finally, all publications and patent applications cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety as if each individual publication or patent application were specifically and individually put forth herein.